Fear Factors

Did you see the news today? Chances are, it was bad. Somewhere amidst the gossip stories, sports scores, crossword puzzle, and weather report, there most likely was a lot of scary stuff.

People take this scary stuff to heart. I know some people in my hometown who are obsessed by what they see as an imminent nuclear attack from North Korea or Iran. Reading the news and listening to their leaders, they have become fixated on what they see as the inevitable electro-magnetic pulse that will accompany an attack and wipe out all our technology. So they’ve made preparations by installing windmill power, buying a horse and wagon, and building a security bunker. No, this is not a tale from 1962 (Cuban Missile Crisis) or 1999 (Y2K), this is happening right now.

Hey, none of us is immune. I can remember huddling in bed as a young girl with horrific images of mushroom clouds from dreaded Soviet nuclear attacks dancing in my head. Those debilitating fears ebbed and flowed over time, reaching a new height in the Reagan years, when the Cold War seemed to be approaching its doomsday climax.

It was only when I moved to Russia for a time – to the heart of the “Evil Empire” – and met, worked, and played with real Russians, that I started to see how skewed news coverage really is. (I look forward to a time when we can meet and interact with people in North Korea and Iran). Also, when I took that break from what had been a steady diet of news consumption, I realized how unhealthy it can be for our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.  I’ve come to see that the “bad news on the doorstep” is more than a cliché. It’s a marketing strategy.

Contrary to popular thinking, it is fear (not hate) that is the opposite of love. All negative emotions, including hatred, come from fear.  All forms of violence, including war, emanate from fear. The Buddha said that “the whole secret of existence is to have no fear.” The Bible says that where there is fear, there cannot be love. And, it stands to reason that, since God is love, we shut ourselves off from God – our Higher Source – when we are afraid. It sounds counter-intuitive because we all call out to God and seek his help when we’re “sorely afraid.” Yet, when our hearts are wrapped in the darkness of fear, it can be very difficult for the shining light of God to work its way through.

These days, fear-mongering is an industry. Increasingly, media programs and websites are deliberately stirring up hatred and fear under the guise of “informing” us about the world’s events. The airwaves are filled with messages designed to keep us anxious and afraid.  If you look, you’ll see them everywhere. One clue is that they usually tease you with a provocative and scary question.

  • “Is your children’s drinking water safe to drink? Details at eleven.”
  • “Are terrorists living in your neighborhood? Stay tuned for this special report.”
  • “Where will the next killer hurricane strike next? Click here to see what scientists predict for your hometown.”
  • “Global Financial Crisis Worsens: Will your bank be the next one to fail? See Page 14B for the full story.”

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate news stories behind each of these examples. And, of course, there are plenty of truly scary things in the world. The point is that messages crafted in this way aren’t simply about keeping you informed, they’re about manipulating your emotions – conjuring up your fears so you’ll be sure to watch or read or click or donate or buy. Marketers of news programming know only too well that fear sells, and they’ve made a science out of how to trigger your alarm system on a daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute basis. Whether you realize it or not, you’re being bombarded! And the techniques are becoming much more subtle and sophisticated over time.

It’s not just the news. Politicians use fear to get themselves elected or to stay popular in the polls. Corporations use fear to sell us products or services. Religious leaders use fear to keep their flocks in line and to attract followers.

The problem is that when we’re afraid, we can’t think logically. Those strong emotions cloud our judgment and make us lose perspective. Thus, we can easily be taken in by half-truths, poor analysis, incomplete facts, opinions disguised as facts, and mere speculation – all of which have become a standard part of even the most well-respected political, news, and other such organizations these days (whether they consciously realize it or not).

Fear – especially a constant state of fear – is really bad for us. It drains our spirits and takes its toll on our bodies. Even worse, when we’re afraid, we can’t express love. We can’t let our lights shine in the world. As Aldous Huxley said, “Fear casts out our humanity.”

So what should we do? The best thing to do is to be aware that it’s happening, and to not allow ourselves to be drawn in. Change the channel, refuse to click, resist the tug on your lower emotions  – recognize when someone is trying to manipulate you into hating or becoming afraid … and tune them out. Be savvy, be aware. And be choosy about the people, messages, and programming that merit your time and attention.

Boycott the fear industry. It’s healthier for you and it’s healthier for the planet.

For a beautiful message from Archangel Michael about how to “Release Fear & Embrace Love,” visit this link: http://www.ask-angels.com/free-angel-messages/release-fear-embrace-love/

 

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